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Comparing Energy Use in Conventional and Organic Cropping Systems

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By Holly Hill

Published: 2009

Updated: 2009



8 pages


Energy consumption can vary significantly between conventional and organic production systems when accounting for direct energy inputs as well as indirect energy involved in manufacturing, shipping and applying pesticides and nitrogen-based fertilizers. Because organic agriculture reduces the amount of indirect energy inputs, it is often assumed that organic agriculture is less energy intensive than conventional agriculture. However, this is not always the case.

Table of Contents

Energy use in agriculture
Comparison considerations
Rodale Institute
University of California
University of Manitoba
Washington State University
Switzerland Research Institute of Organic Agriculture
Agricultural University of Norway
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Energy use in organic farming systems
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Environmental Impacts of Food Production and Consumption
Soil Association responds to the Manchester Business School report
University College Dublin
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
Further resources

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